Why doesn't my mouse mouse?
June 10, 2005 5:10 AM   Subscribe

OS X 10.4 Tiger. My mouse has stopped mousing.

Last night I was happily computing away when I got the grey press-power-to-restart screen in OS X 10.4, and when I did, my mouse wouldn't respond. I could neither move the pointer, nor click on anything. So I began restarting. On some restarts, the OS would tell me it couldn't find a bluetooth mouse, which is understandable because I don't have one. On other restarts I just couldn't do anything.

I booted from the OS DVD and the mouse worked fine, so I repaired permissions and the HD, expecting that to work, but it did nothing. Likewise, I tried every usb port on the computer; it didn't make a difference. And also, the keyboard does still work.

My computer is a single processor 1.8Ghz G5 with 1GB of ram and plenty of hard drive space. The mouse is a usb mouse that normally runs through the keyboard hub, but today I've run it through every usb slot I have.

So does anyone have any ideas how to fix it? Has anyone had this happen to them before?
posted by renderthis to Computers & Internet (13 answers total)
Have you tried a different mouse?
posted by alms at 5:18 AM on June 10, 2005

Response by poster: Whoops I should have included that in the question. Yup, two different mouses, no luck.
posted by renderthis at 5:25 AM on June 10, 2005

Have you power-cycled the computer, and I mean completely off?

Shut it down, pull the power plug, and let it sit there for several seconds. Even a few minutes -- you're letting every last bit of energy completely sap out, in particular all the little FPGAs and RAMs that are all over the place inside (e.g. in the USB controller circuitry).

That frequently works wonders for any computer problem.
posted by intermod at 5:38 AM on June 10, 2005

Response by poster: intermod: yup, that was one of my first thoughts after I realized it was not a rebootable problem... I left it unplugged for about 6 hours while I slept.
posted by renderthis at 5:51 AM on June 10, 2005

Best answer: If you got a kernel panic (which is what that description sounds like), it's a fair bet that you've corrupted at least one system file. I hate to suggest it, but a re-install may be necessary. If you do an 'Archive and Install', you won't lose any of your docs and settings, but backup anything important anyway.

Also, you should file a bug report with Apple. It sounds like there's an app or driver that you're using that doesn't play nice with Tiger. Out of interest, what were you computing away with?
posted by veedubya at 6:32 AM on June 10, 2005

Ditto veedubya. Unless it's a 3rd party mouse and it's required a driver to be installed (which would then need to be ruled out as the culprit), or if somehow the problem is just that there's a corrupted preference that *thinks* you have a Bluetooth mouse. To rule that out, create a new user (if possible) and login to that account and see if it has the same problem.
posted by kimota at 6:56 AM on June 10, 2005

Response by poster: veedubya: that's what i was afraid of. Oh well, installing osx is relatively painless

Although this brings up a bit of a followup question: in OS X, how would one go about backing up a computer, or creating a new user, without the use of a mouse? I can't even launch Terminal without it!
posted by renderthis at 7:12 AM on June 10, 2005

Response by poster: Also veedubya, I was just doing some graphic design, so I had the standard apps...adobe cs, mail, and an ftp browser. Sadly nothing out of the ordinary; that could make this whole process a lot easier.
posted by renderthis at 7:14 AM on June 10, 2005

Best answer: Since it works when you boot from the Tiger DVD, that points to a software problem rather than a hardware problem. So that's good. You should be able to do an 'archive and install' from the DVD, which will preserve all your personal stuff and just give you a fresh system. I would try that first, since it is a lot faster than wiping the drive and starting from scratch.
posted by spilon at 7:28 AM on June 10, 2005

Check your system prefs. Under Universal Access >Mouse. Make sure Mouse Keys hasn't, for some unfathomable reason, been enabled. (assuming that preference is still there under Tiger)
posted by Thorzdad at 7:49 AM on June 10, 2005

Have you tried booting into verbose mode? This may tell you about a potential hardware problem.

In any case, booting from the Install CD/DVD will tell you the same thing, if you still can't use the mouse in that case.

Have you tried booting into single user mode?

If you know where the driver or software is which you installed before the mouse failed, you could use this information to mount the internal hard drive, rename or move or delete the offending third-party software, and reboot to re-enable the mouse without having to do a reinstallation of the OS, with all the problems that poses.
posted by Poltroon at 8:38 AM on June 10, 2005

Response by poster: Spilon: that is probably what I'll end up having to do, but the first time I installed Tiger it aborted halfway through. With that in mind I don't even want to try an archive and install without backing up first, and that is a problem when you have no mouse.

Thorzdad: thanks, that hadn't even occured to me, I'll try that this evening

Poltroon: I haven't booted into verbose or single user mode, just because I don't know what I would do once I was there. I'll look into that though, thanks.
posted by renderthis at 9:02 AM on June 10, 2005


what's probably screwed is an extension in:


And my guess would be the USB extension


You could use a utility to extract those off the OSX installer disk and put them in place, restoring the damaged file.

But realistically it's much easer to just reinstall with the Archive & Install option.
posted by filmgeek at 10:59 AM on June 10, 2005

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